Overview of the UK Visa Priority Service

Application processing times for UK Visa applications are often longer than many of us would like. With standard processing times ranging from anywhere between 3 weeks to 24 weeks, depending on the specific visa type and category, many applicants need and want a faster decision. Whether it’s an urgent travel commitment, a long-distance relationship where you want to be reunited as early as possible, or you need the surety of getting a visa decision before your current visa expires, there are many reasons for wanting to expedite the decision process. Fortunately, UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) now accommodates applicants who want or need a faster decision on their visa application. This is done through their priority service applications, which offer a decision within hours or days rather than weeks and months.

Throughout this article, we’ll examine all facets of UKVI’s priority visa service. We’ll examine the different services available within the UK and abroad. We’ll also look at the costs, the process for scheduling an appointment, and the applications where priority services are permitted.

Different Types of UK Visa Priority Services

There are two different types of priority services for applications made from both inside and outside of the UK. These two services are as follows:

  • Priority Service – Under this service, decisions are made within 5 working days
  • Super Priority Service – Under this service, decisions are made by the end of the next working day

It’s important to note that there’s a limit on how many people can apply for a priority service. Therefore, availability may be limited at certain times of the year. It’s also important to note that not all visas are eligible for the priority or super priority services. See the ‘what visas are priority services available for’ section below. How you prove your identity can also impact whether you’re eligible for a priority service.

UK Visa Priority Service Fees

If you want to utilise UKVI’s priority services, an additional fee must be paid. This fee is in addition to the standard application fee, and it needs to be paid by each applicant on the application, i.e. the main applicant and each dependent applicant.

The fees for UK visa priority services currently differ between applications made inside and outside the UK. However, the UK Government has already announced plans for these fees to be harmonised, which will likely occur by April 2024 at the latest. The current fees are as follows:

  • Priority Service – £500 inside the UK / £573 if your visa gives you the option to settle permanently in the UK or £250 if your visa does not give you the option to settle permanently in the UK
  • Super Priority Service – £800 inside UK / £956 outside UK

All fees must be paid upfront when booking your appointment at a visa application centre or UKVCAS appointment centre.

How to Book a Priority Service Appointment

Scheduling a priority service appointment follows the same process for applications made within the UK and from overseas. After entering all of the relevant information for your visa application online, you will be presented with a calendar showing available appointments at your local visa application centre or UKVCAS appointment centre. At this point, you will see whether Priority Service or Super Priority Service appointments are available. If you can only see standard appointments available, your visa type isn’t suitable for priority services, or all the weekly priority service appointments have already been reserved. You should check subsequent weeks to see if there is any availability then.

Priority appointments inside and outside the UK are highly sought after and often booked well in advance. While new appointments are released every week, it’s best to plan ahead and book your appointment as far out as possible. It’s important to note that if you book a standard appointment, this can’t subsequently be upgraded to a priority service.

What Visas are Priority Services Available for?

Whether you can utilise a priority service depends on what you’re applying for, where you’re applying from, and how you prove your identity. The following tables show the eligible services for each type of visa for applications made inside and outside of the UK.

Applications Inside the UK

Eligible Visa Applications

Application TypePriority ServiceSuper Priority ServiceID App: Priority Service
Child student visaYesYesYes
Global Talent visaYesYesNo
Graduate Trainee – Global Business Mobility visaYesYesYes
Health and Care Worker visaYesYesYes
Hong Kong BNO visaYesNoYes
Intra-company visasYesYesNo
Investor visa (Tier 1)YesNoNo
Minister of Religion visa (T2)YesYesNo
Scale-up Worker visaYesYesYes
Secondment Worker – Global Business Mobility visaYesYesYes
Senior or Specialist Worker – Global Business Mobility visaYesYesYes
Service Supplier – Global Business Mobility visaYesYesYes
Skilled Worker visaYesYesYes
International Sportsperson visaYesYesNo
Student visaYesYesYes
Temporary Work – Charity Worker visaYesYesNo
Temporary Work – Creative Worker visaYesYesNo
Temporary Work – Government Authorised Exchange visaYesYesNo
Temporary Work – International Agreement visaYesYesNo
Temporary Work – Religious Worker visaYesYesNo
Temporary Work – Seasonal Worker visaYesYesNo
UK Expansion Worker – Global Business Mobility visaYesYesYes
Applying as the dependent child or partner on a work, student, global talent, start up or innovator founder visaYesYesNo
Applying as the dependent child or partner on an investor visaYesNoNo
Applying on the basis of family life as a partner, parent or dependent child or on the basis of private life in the UK (through form FLR(FP) or form FLR(M))NoYesNo
Applying for human rights claims, leave outside the rules and other routes through form FLR(HRO)NoYesNo
Applying for other routes through form FLR(IR)NoYesNo

 

Eligible Settlement Applications

Application TypePriority ServiceSuper Priority ServiceID App: Priority Service
Application to settle on the basis of UK Ancestry (through form SET(O))NoYesNo
Application to settle as a former member of HM Forces (through form SET(AF))NoYesNo
Application to settle as a child under 18 (through form SET(F))NoYesNo
Application to settle if you’ve been in the UK legally for 10 continuous years (known as ‘long residence’)NoYesNo
Application to settle if you work, establish a business or invest in the UK (through form SET(O))YesYesNo
Application to settle as the partner of a person, or parent of a child, who is present and settled in the UK (through form SET(M))NoYesNo
Application to settle as an Innovator FounderYesYesYes
Application to settle as the dependent child or partner of an Innovator FounderYesYesNo

 

Applications from Outside the UK

If you’re applying from outside the UK, the process varies slightly depending on how you apply and where you’re applying from.

Applications at a Visa Application Centre or UKVCAS Appointment Centre

If you’re applying from Israel, Jordan, or a European or African country, then you can check on the TLScontact website. Select the country you’re applying from and then select ‘Value Added Services’ to see what priority services are available.

If you’re applying from anywhere else in the world, you will need to check the VFS global website. Select the ‘Premium Service’ page for your closest application centre to see what priority services are offered.

Applications with the UK Immigration: ID Check app

The possibility of utilising a priority service exists for applicants applying for:

  • Skilled Worker visa
  • Health and Care Worker visa
  • Student visa
  • Child student visa
  • Hong Kong BNO visa

Confirmation regarding eligibility for a priority service will be provided once your documents have been uploaded.